'L.A. Law' Star Jill Eikenberry: Steven Bochco Helped Me Through Breast Cancer

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Steven Bochco (left) and Jill Eikenberry

"He spoiled us for every other boss," says the actress, who along with husband Michael Tucker starred on Bochco's long-running legal drama. The prolific showrunner died Sunday at age 74.

My husband [Michael Tucker, who co-starred as her character’s husband on the show] went to Carnegie Mellon with Steven. They had been really close friends for a very long time. And then when we started working for him, he spoiled us for every other boss. He was incredible to me personally.

Between shooting the pilot and the first season, I discovered I had breast cancer. It was a terrifying diagnosis, and we told Steven that we couldn’t do the show. He wouldn’t hear of it. After my surgery, he said, “You’re going to do the show. You’ll get off early every shooting day in time for your radiation appointment. You can do this. I’m going to make this work for you.”

I found out later that he had offered to insure me if I had trouble getting insurance for the show. He was unbelievable. And not only that, but the character he wrote for me was this blow-’em-out-of-the-water lawyer who had so much strength and power. I was feeling like such a victim, but I’d go to work and play this incredible woman. I really think that’s what got me through my cancer.

This story first appeared in the April 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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